Lionel Messi leads Argentina to second international trophy in a year with win over Italy

Lionel Messi inspired Argentina to their second international trophy within the space of 12 months after ending their 18-year drought with silverware, reports.

Last summer, the superstar playmaker played an inspirational role as his nation won the Copa America title – their first trophy since 1993. That title ensured their participation in the 2022 Finalissima on Wednesday night against Italy, the European champions, at Wembley.

Messi was, as usual, the main man for Lionel Scaloni’s side as they secured a comfortable three-goal victory over the Azzurri – whose slump in form since their remarkable Euro 2020 title at this venue a year ago has been alarming, causing them to miss out on a place at this year’s World Cup finals.

Paris Saint-Germain star Messi rolled back the years as he provided the sumptuous assist for striker Lautaro Martinez two minutes before the half-hour mark. Martinez provided a suitably classy finish as he fired past Messi’s club teammate Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Argentina were firmly in the ascendancy and in first half stoppage time they doubled their lead, with Martinez this time turning provider. The Inter striker provided the assist for Angel Di Maria – another PSG star, albeit one who is exiting the Parc des Princes this summer at the end of his contract – whose burst of pace took him past Giorgio Chiellini before providing a wonderful dinked finish.

It was a painful moment for Chiellini and it turned out to be his last action in an Italy shirt – the veteran defender is retiring from international football and was substituted off at half time at the ground where his best moment for Italy had arrived, when he lifted the European Championships last summer.